A STARRY, STARRY NIGHT IN PETRA
Millions of inquisitive tourists visit the National Park in broad daylight when the sun is beating down, but only some know that Petra’s secrets actually awaken at night.
Petra has become a bucket list destination and considered one of the new Seven Wonders of the World. The giant metropolis of tombs, monuments and sacred places were hand-hewn by the Nabateans in the third century so that the sun would illuminate their significant sites like celestial spotlights.
THE LOST CITY WAS REDISCOVERED IN THE 19TH CENTURY AND BECAME ONE OF JORDAN’S MOST VALUABLE TREASURES. DESCRIBED BY UNESCO AS “ONE OF THE MOST PRECIOUS CULTURAL PROPERTIES OF MAN’S CULTURAL HERITAGE”, PETRA IS UNDOUBTEDLY A PLACE OF AWE-INSPIRING BEAUTY AND UNEXPLAINED MYSTERIES.
While it is known as the Rose City due to its blushing pink and orange hues of Sandstone, Petra truly comes to life when the crimson sun sets, deep in the Rum Valley, and the fluorescent moon and glistening stars shine brightly in the sky.
Known as Petra By Night, 1800 tea candles placed in paper sandbags adorn the meandering canyons, creating both a romantic and dramaticized ambiance. As you walk through the narrow gorge, flickers of incandescent candlelight reveal etchings by the nomads depicting stories from the desert, as well as checkpoints of the famous old spice trail. Going deeper into the siq, the walls begin to cave in, and rocky pathways compress before the magnificent Treasury starts peeking around the corner. As you approach the spectacle of splendor, you can feel a sense of anticipation and a buzz in the crisp, night air. The crowds find a place to sit on the Persian carpets, perfectly positioned in front of the Treasury and the volume becomes eerily low.
A FIGURE SLOWLY EMERGES FROM THE DARKNESS AND PROCEEDS TO RECITE MELODIC CHORDS FROM A FLUTE. THE JORDANIAN INSTRUMENTAL AMPLIFIES UNTIL IT REACHES A CRESCENDO, AT WHICH POINT A RABABA COMES IN TO CREATE A HARMONIC SYMPHONY. THE LOCAL BEDOUINS SERVE PIPING HOT, MINT SWEET TEA TO SIP AND SAVOR, WHILE YOU LISTEN TO THE ACOUSTICS PENETRATING THE ANCIENT ATMOSPHERE.
The force of sound begins to soften, and the Treasury is spotlighted with pigments of purple, white and red, emphasizing the Greek-influenced, ornate detailing, and overall grandeur of the world’s wonder. The crowds begin to disperse and you are left with a magical and solitary experience. The lanterns that sit on the earth are enchantingly complemented by the beaming lights coloring the Treasury. Take a moment, take a breath, and immerse yourself in the transcendent surroundings.